Lake Turnover, Existential Crises, and Seasonal Depression

In AP Environmental Science, we learned about lake turnover. Lake turnover is the process of a lake’s water literally turning over from top to bottom. In essence, as the seasons change from fall/winter to spring/summer, water and debris that existed on the bottom of the lake (called the hypolimnion) moves to the top of the lake (called the epilimnion) and vice versa. In deeper, larger lakes, the hypolimnion is never reached by the sun’s radiation during either season.

I think about seasonal depression as lake turnover. In the fall and winter, my surface level as a person is dense and heavy, iced over, brewing with sad or angry emotion; everything I’ve let simmer at the bottom of my hypothetical lake since the last “turnover.” Everything I ignore during summer eventually surfaces during the next turnover season. In summer, the surface water of my hypothetical lake is nurtured by the sunlight, bringing back all forms of life and movement. I like to think this is why I feel really shallow or surface-level in the summer, because I am able to focus on lighter feelings like happiness and carelessness because of lack of pressure from school or avoid cooped-up isolation due to cold weather conditions.

There were a lot of things I didn’t fully finish feeling or face over the course of last summer. And, of course, in the middle of the fall/winter season, I switched schools, so that affected how I’ve been feeling. Long story short, there were a lot of things that I had to overcome and conclusions I had to come to over the past fifty-three days I haven’t posted. In those fifty-three days, I have changed so much I don’t even recognize myself anymore, physically and emotionally.

Before anyone gets scared, I think this is good. I know everything is changing all the time, but I felt I was in that phase of my life too long. I became a whole different person when I got out of a relationship in 2015, almost like a child that needed to learn how to exist in the world by myself again. I made a ton of mistakes over that first year, then I went to college and experienced such rapid growth that I don’t even know how to assess it all. That version of myself got old, and over last summer I knew something was going to change, something big was going to happen, and I was going to have to say goodbye to some things and start some new things.

Conveniently, Saturn changed signs in December. Since then, my life has been reorganizing itself. I have a clearer version of what I want out of life and more confidence that I will be able to achieve it. I have made peace, for now at least, with the fact I am a million different people at once. I have faced problems in most of my relationships with important people in my life and confronted them with the knowledge that I will repeatedly have to battle these issues because it’s just what happens when two people are friends. I ended a quasi-relationship in the dramatic way I wanted to, accidentally shook up some other ones, and cut my hair. I have accepted the fact that I am one of those college students who always wants to go home.

I like this new me. I am more hardworking and introspective and calm. I have written two coherent poems and have read them in front of other people. I am more detached and understanding and less quick to react. I don’t wear makeup. I am in the process of obtaining a second job. I don’t shake uncontrollably when I drink a cup of coffee. I have finally realized what does and does not make me feel happy and fulfilled. Is this maturity?

Whatever it is, unfortunately I had to reach some record lows to finally gain some emotional stability. But I read an article recently that made me feel better about this; a girl who lives out of her car and teaches yoga and spirituality in Australia says her mantra is “no one cares about a movie where nothing goes wrong.” Since I’ve accepted that I will probably always live my life pretending I’m in a movie, what better time to adopt this mantra and use it to justify my shortcomings in life! But no, really, I think it’s taken me almost twenty years to realize that everything going wrong makes my life interesting. More than half of this blog is dedicated to me processing the things that go awry in my life. My life would be devoid of creativity and emotion if my life went well all the time.

So I’m going to forgive myself for being off for the past fifty-three days. Everything that happened led up to today, where I’ve had two cups of soup and my professor comforted me about my fear of public speaking and I found great new music on Spotify and I finally remembered to spray heat protectant on my hair before I straightened it. Not the best day, but not the worst day. Soon everything will be better or just different, and that’s all I can ask.

existential crisis playlist:

center of gravity the brazen youth / all that and more (sailboat) rainbow kitten surprise / going gets tough the growlers / jackie wants a black eye dr. dog / where’d all the time go? dr. dog / oh! starving car seat headrest / ifhy tyler the creator  / this must be the place (naive melody) cover the lumineers / close to me the cure / sunburned shirts car seat headrest / the good times are killing me modest mouse / a$ap forever a$ap rocky / be above it tame impala / femme fatale the velvet underground / archie, marry me flyte / see you again tyler the creator & kali uchis

things i did during my existential crisis:

watched twentieth century women, american honey, frances ha, wild / started breaking bad / finished thirteen reasons why / worked a lot / went on a hike in the white mountains / hosted a poetry reading / discovered a great salad at one plate, two plates / stopped going to therapy / ate a million bags of cadbury mini eggs / started tweeting again / started my spring 2018 spotify playlist / started working out again / hiked in the white mountains

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Hey Guys, Don’t Transfer in The Middle of The Year

I need to write this post in the middle of the Student Union as my hands shake uncontrollably. Why? Because I’m so scared of everyone for no reason. Even typing these three sentences I have clicked in and out of WordPress like five times. I turned down the brightness so low I can barely see what I’m writing. All because I don’t want the streams of people walking by me to see what I’m doing.

I thought coming here would cure that. There are over twenty six THOUSAND students who pass through the Student Union presumably every day. And that’s not counting teachers, staff, visitors, etc. Not one of them gives a single fuck what I’m typing on my blog that less than ten people read. But I can’t stop glancing up, changing tabs, or internally screaming.

Why can’t I just not care?

For a few days I’ve been coming to terms with the fact I have somewhere along the line developed crippling social anxiety. So I’m forcing myself to write this in public while a cute father and mother pull up chairs to the table behind me to eat dinner with their daughter. Hello, you’re probably reading this. But also probably not because you’re eating dinner.

But hey – that’s the point! I really shouldn’t care. If I really believed in the content I was putting out, and wasn’t scared of who I am, I wouldn’t care. I guess those are two things I need to work on.

Unfortunately, this translates into my everyday life too. If I just garnered up the confidence to ask a simple question, I would have been able to go to a concert tonight. If I didn’t immediately flee a social situation at breakfast, I would have gotten the correct spelling of this person’s last name I’ve been meaning to look up on Facebook. My read receipts on my text messages have been texting me, and I’ve gathered up so many text messages I’m afraid to read because I don’t know how to respond.

I just responded them, because so what if my responses are dumb. It’s a text message. It does not make or break a friendship. Just because they don’t respond, or question what I said, doesn’t meant that I did something wrong.

Now I look like a heavy-breathing, sweaty crackhead wearing a fur coat and green eyeshadow on the brink of sobbing in a public place. Does this make me less scared? No. Probably more scared. But this is necessary. What’s the point of life if you can’t make friends because you’re so scared to open your mouth and say something because you are terrified they’ll hate you or desert you for someone better. I’ve been through that and it sucks and I think that’s why I’m scared. So, one big sincere fuck you to my freshman year friends that decided it was cool to just leave me out of everything. But also thank you because I was wasting my time with all of you. But also fuck you again because you made me feel like shit.

In conclusion: it’s hard to be a freshman all over again. ESPECIALLY when no one else is learning with you. Every freshman has an upper hand on me because they’ve been here for one semester; same with every regular transfer. Yes, we can discuss how different our old schools were from UConn, but when I say UConn is big it already seems small to everyone else. I don’t know where most buildings are, I get on the bus when they are going the wrong way, and when I try to use the excuse “I’m new here” people are confused because it’s February.

I hope I start figuring it all out soon because I’m tired of being a freshman. I know it’s one month in but I’m so done being scared and underprepared everywhere I go. I just wanted a fresh start and all I got was sweaty hands and endless uncertainty.

 

What I Read Every Day While I Should Really Be Doing Something Else

So, I had to get this idea from somewhere. The One Thousand Lemons thing. Specifically, the quirky title I must credit to Sophie. I don’t know where she came up with it, but it’s really sealed the deal between me and my love of lemons. Thank you for giving me a personality trait!

But here I will list all of the blogs that have been burned into my psyche. Some have been burning for long, enduring years; others, just months. I am open to suggestions so if you have a WordPress account hit my line in the comments.

It wouldn’t be right for me to not credit my entire existence to Rookie. I’ve been reading that blog since spring of 2013 and it’s probably the first formal blog I’ve ever encountered, definitely through Teen Vogue or something. Tavi Gevinson, when asked the question “Who is your biggest inspiration?”, was ALWAYS the answer. She’s just so cool. She started the site as a style blog when she was literally just twelve. And then when she turned fifteen made it into something bigger. It really piqued my interest in knowing everything in the whole world because, somehow, a fifteen year old girl with the same interests as me knew everything. I found so many movies (The Virgin Suicides, American Beauty), TV shows (My So Called Life, Freaks and Geeks), and music (just look at my old 8tracks account) through Rookie.

Two years later I discovered The Messy Heads, which defined my entire summer 2015. After a dry period of not really doing anything creative, the early version of The Messy Heads revived me into an individual. They inspired me to buy a bike for my birthday, read more books, dress like a hippie, and journal. And that’s exactly what I did. At first, it was two girls at the blog, India and Emma. They were two best friends living in California, and then India left the blog. Then Emma moved to all these new places like Los Angeles and Seattle and Paris and now New York. My favorite post of all time, which introduced me to one of my favorite songs, is this one. It used to have film photos in it against a white background, but Emma changes the site around all the time, so who knows when that will be back. I respect her life changes but I wish that she kept the integrity of her old posts in place. Her printed magazines are also very good, and she just came out with a new one.

I feel all fake throwing Man Repeller in with the OG favorites, but I’ve known about Man Repeller since Leandra Medine first became famous, so maybe it will count. I used to read Man Repeller a long, long time ago. I don’t remember any standout memories but I used to follow her on Wanelo, Tumblr, the works. Regardless of when I actually started consuming Man Repeller, I’ve always been ~hip~ to her concept of man-repelling. I read her blog every morning like it’s the newspaper and tbh, it kind of is. It’s really the content I want to see.

Sophie recommended a while ago to read Sea Foaming, and it’s actually so good. Their postings are sparse, but captivating and important when they arrive. I like their monthly edits a lot. It reminds me a lot of 2015 Messy Heads. The blog is based in Australia but has a lot of guest writers so sometimes you understand their weird lingo. I love their incorporation of the beach because it’s #relatableasfuck. Overall a great source of learning about Australian shit you don’t know about.

Within the last year, I started reading Teen Eye Magazine which I find refreshing. It’s written really well, almost professionally. A lot of girls from different perspectives contribute to the magazine and I always learn something new when I check it out. Although I don’t check it every day, I read it when I’m looking to learn something and read a lot of their posts at once.

I don’t know if The Cut is considered a blog or a news source, but I think it blends the two perfectly. It’s a little more newspaper-y than Man Repeller, but sometimes that’s good because I want to be informed and stuff. I found them two months ago via their millennial pink article. I remember eating millennial pink strawberry cream cheese and wearing a millennial pink shade of eyeshadow while reading it, what a time.

Besides all of these blogs, I read i-D for updates on pop culture and pay for the New York Times to keep semi in touch with my political science classes. Amanda just started a blog called Naive Young Woman, which I hope she continues because it is very good. Go read that blog if you choose to read anything on this post. 😉

I Didn’t Really Talk To Anyone This Month So I Unintentionally Participated in Dryuary

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I don’t know what happened in January (well, I do, and I’m gonna explain it) but I suddenly became myself again. This was actually a really significant event because I have been dealing with frequent crises for the past three years, alongside the normal crises (graduating, going to college, transferring, changing my diet, selling my clothes on the internet). So I’ve ~finally~ started loving the things I’ve always claimed to like. Or, in a better manner of saying that, I started doing things I used to do as a child or early on in high school before I got distracted (by boys, by being employed, I could go on, but mostly boys). And you know why? Not to deter the few who do not believe in astrology, but SATURN CHANGED SIGNS. Click on that link to learn more from my god, CafeAstrology.

To go off on a tangent, basically Saturn changes signs just about every three years. Last time Saturn changed signs, it was to Sagittarius in December 2014. I didn’t know about the magic of Saturn then, but I can clearly see its effects in my life. I was getting bored in my stagnant relationship, and he was getting controlling. All I wanted to do was have fun. I made a new friend that had the kind of fun I wanted to have. I also realized that everyone in high school didn’t hate me and that I could make friends. So I broke up with him and had that SAGITTARIUS fun, I hooked up with different guys and went to parties and drank and smoked and acted SAGITTARIUSLY. I took more risks and did random stuff no one else would think to do, like being manager of the fencing team, performing in front of my entire high school the first day of senior year, painting on the courtyard walls, and bought multiple impulse plane tickets. Very Sag of me to travel so much during these years!

While that was (literally) all fun and games, when I got to college I realized that I should probably get to know myself better. But I had no idea! I was too busy having ~fun~ and being ~free~. Which is definitely a part of who I am, but not all of it. I had no idea how I wanted to dress, what classes I wanted to take, and how I wanted people to see me as a person. When Saturn moved into Capricorn, I watched a video about it and realized I was listening to music I adored when I was sixteen and talking to people I was close with when I was sixteen. It was spooky as fuck. And, without me even trying, I figured out my whole life. I think so, at least. So, here’s how it’s been so far. (Also, if you’re interested, here’s the video that changed my life!)

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  • Call Me By Your Name DESERVES ALL OF ITS HYPE. First of all, I literally CALLED IT that ultramarine blue would make a comeback in society. Second of all, it was so god damn beautiful. I love Northern Italy. My Italian professor last semester was from Florence and he just encouraged me to follow my Northern Italian dreams. We also ended the class by collectively enjoying prosciutto and melon. I can’t wait to move to Italy and own a lemon grove and only play this album 24/7. I’m also reading the book, which I recommend but it’s just a tad sexual; nothing I have a problem with, just a warning. Anyway, if anyone reading this wants to see it, I am unemployed and free on weekends.
  • I saw it in December, but I need to put it out there that Lady Bird exists. And I’m so glad it does! Thanks for going with me Amanda and Sophie. The soundtrack is bomb too. I feel personally attacked by that movie. To quote Wyatt: “Have you seen Lady Bird yet… It’s literally just you.”
  • Cadbury Mini Eggs are now at your local CVS. It’s maybe just a tad early for that. Easter is April 1st. I know that because I am now two types of Christian. I got confirmed to the Congregational church earlier this month if anyone wanted to know. Sorry, Martin Luther, but I’m going to hop between sects of faith. If I’m not Catholic, what will the boys in Northern Italy think of me? And I lowkey miss the stale bread.
  • Actually, my new religion is mixing Buzz and Trick from the Naked 3 palette. I’ve been really getting orange and pink vibes from January. See the Instagram post captioned “never deserting my pillow pet again in 2018” on my account which is @mainacarey but also @onethousandlemons!
  • A book that everyone has told you to read: Just Kids by Patti Smith. It was good! It really brought back those #mems from when I was obsessed with the 1960s. High key cried when Jim Morrison died. I just ordered M Train which I am highly anticipating.
  • French accents + doing makeup perfectly with your fingers and a Q tip + cool camera angles = the best makeup tutorials of all time. This girl is the global beauty director for Estee Lauder and she is SO COOL. Watch her videos here; her name is Violette. And follow @v93oo if you like bright colors.
  • The one marriage setup in life I wish happened to me.

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  • I finally have a coherent taste in men! It involves curly hair. Obviously, TimotheEe Chssmmsmtlet is one of them because of course. A more ~underground~ man I adore is Avery Ginsberg. But he has a girlfriend who I have coincidentally watched on YouTube since 7th grade! I also watched the move Can’t Buy Me Love this month and Patrick Dempsey with curly hair is an 11/10.
  • Obama!!!! transferred colleges and he is still alive. And got to be president. So I could be president even though fuck that. Read all about it here!
  • My true calling lies in beginning my sunglasses collection. Right now I am at a standstill in my sunglass-collecting, but I am hoping to have a renaissance soon. Especially since I already decided how I’m going to be dressing this summer… and started kinda sorta shopping for it. I have an issue.
  • The Old Lyme Inn has a great selection of sandwiches. Just thought everyone should know, even though I’ve been telling literally everyone. I don’t even care that they didn’t update their menu for the winter season. Their fall stuff is bomb and I forgot how much I love fall comfort food. Think overbearing Thanksgiving vibes, the best ones, and root vegetables.
  • If you think you had it bad, think of something worse, and prepare yourself. This could go for anything. I don’t suggest being negative about life, but all I’m saying is to prepare for the worst. Yes, I had another horrible roommate. Yes, I’m moving now. Yes, I ordered two new art prints on Amazon as a pat on the back for not flipping the fuck out at anyone I share a bathroom with. Also, finish your meningitis shot because it will handicap you.
  • Over break, Amanda and I were watching Chopped, a normal routine. But then we happened upon an episode of The Great British Baking Show, and found this lovely human being, Ruby Tandoh, but most importantly her print-making and art Instagram, @rubyst. She’s so cool, she is gay and bakes and loves One Direction.
  • Owning rain boots has added approximately 6 years to my life. What was I doing before I owned them? Why was I wearing sneakers in the rain? Why did I enjoy getting my socks wet? So many mistakes were made in not ordering them sooner.

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  • Oceans V2 by Felly ~ I found this through a Margot Lee vlog, because where else do you find the chill vibes. I don’t like Felly or his weird brand of a kid with long hair possibly from Texas who sings about pointless stuff and weed, but this song IS chill vibes. Perfect for a morning you don’t want to be awake but want to romanticize your morning anyway.
  • Pink + White by Frank Ocean ~ I go through breaks with Frank Ocean. I think the last time I listened to Blond was February of last year, and I wasn’t all that into it. I would listen to it before going to bed. But now I have fully immersed myself in Blond and I am happy to report that I am in love! Especially this song.
  • SWEET by BROCKHAMPTON ~ I will admit that I am late to the party with BROCKHAMPTON. I listened to them half-heartedly last semester but now I think I finally get it. I’m working on exploring the breadth of their music but this song is funky as fuck. I wish people would pregame to this song at UConn because they probably do at UVM because it’s UVM.
  • The album Swimming by French Kicks ~ I’ve always, always raved about Sex Tourists, but now I finally understand that their entire album is a really snowy winter day and a hazy summer day at the same time. I am such a fan. Good to put on in the background of an emotional bus ride or homework.
  • After the Storm by Kali Uchis ft. Tyler the Creator ~ I would love to know what the producer of this song was thinking while he created this song. It reminds me of mango smoothies, a clear, no-humidity day in August, a really refreshing glass of water, and the perfect pair of sunglasses. Such good vibes. 10/10 release.
  • Lover is a Day by Cuco ~ I love this genre of like techno emo rapping-talking vague Tame Impala vibes shit. It sounds like I just described Twenty One Pilots but I didn’t. Whoever this kid is is on a whole other emo level. But I feel him and his almost eight minute song. He says some real shit. “Will you love this part of me?” I’m wondering too.
  • Road to Nowhere and And She Was by Talking Heads ~~ Road to Nowhere is one of those songs that you play as you dramatically make an exit, but it’s kind of corny and has mild Broadway vibes, which is why it makes you laugh too. Save that seriousness for Tiny Dancer. And She Was is just a good 80s jam, which I’m always in the mood for if we’re being honest. Talking Heads, while being my freshman year English teacher’s favorite band, is also one of mine. Thanks, Julie. Cultural nod to the Talking Heads shirt in Call Me By Your Name.
  • Elephant Gun by Beirut ~ I’m experiencing another renaissance in the form of Beirut’s music. But literally where else can you get Eastern European AND Western European AND Northern African vibes from a piece of music written in English? I just really appreciate a good brass setup. If you do anything today, check out this band and just think about art museums and being born in the 1700s and wearing, like, a petticoat or something.
  • Viva la Vida by Coldplay ~ I’m really stressed out while writing this and I didn’t listen to it that much over this month, but I thought I would include it as a stress reliever. Something about it, maybe that I used to sing it in the shower every day for probably seven years, is just calming and familiar and beautiful. Cue me singing “IhearjERusalembells-a-ringin, Romancavalrychoooooirsasinging” under my breath until I fix my sleeping schedule.

And Now, I Finally Publicly Admit That My Nose Was Too Big For My Face in 2010

As me and all my friends edge closer to 20, I want to properly mourn the last decade of our lives.

I remember turning 10. It was the end of fourth grade, and our class pet, a hermit crab, had died overnight. We were sad. We still had my cupcakes though. It was a Thursday.  I doubt that turning 20 feels as important as 10 did, but still, like I said before, we are all going to be different people because now we’re going to be old.

It’s coincidental that I thought of this article idea the night before Man Repeller posted this article, but maybe it’s not because I’m convinced that blog/Leandra Medine is a vision I had in an astral projection I construed a long time ago.

But yeah! This is basically just an ode, but also a calling to full-on revive, every aspect of yourself that you have feared yet simultaneously loved over the past ten years. I think it will be fun.

Like, will you bring back the overnight braid, also known the cheap (wo)man’s crimper? The ones that were supposed to come out like this but ended up looking like an even greasier version of this? Or maybe it will be long layers with a hint of ~scene~ bangs, as seen in 2009 from Shailene Woodley? Or will it be something more recent, like shitty multicolored ombre or, my favorite, dying your hair with Kool-Aid? Was that just me? Possibly.

I also want to bring back aspects of culture SO bad. I miss soft-grunge so much. I miss the upside-down crosses complete with light Satanic undertones, those #teenagerposts on tumblr (which, I have a theory on why those were so popular- that we were just all discovering the commonality of the human experience in an incredibly obnoxious way, complete with poor font choices), and Take Care (Deluxe Album Version) by Drake, which I never really stopped listening to in the first place? Or maybe it will be a bit more ~advanced~, a little more mid-2010s, and you bring back Arctic Monkeys lyrics juxtaposed against pictures with horrible lighting, trying to own every LUSH product in the entire universe, maybe even a little Squaready on your Instagram? Ah, the simpler days, when people used to edit their photos AFTER putting it in Squaready and gave me chronic headaches.

It’s easy to erase all of the horrible times of being a teenager and remember the highlight reel, but I also think it wouldn’t be honoring our past selves without reflecting on all the depressing things that we thought made our lives so mundane. Mine was sitting in the library across from my high school for hours until my mom picked me up. All I wanted to do was go home and sleep. It was also when the lock was stolen on my locker twice the first month of freshman year, or maybe asking my friend to ask a guy to hook up with me at a birthday party the summer before 8th grade and getting curved and realizing I did it only because of peer pressure. Or maybe it was my entire love life and my gross choices! I don’t know. Pick your favorite mistake and laugh but also be thankful that now all you have to worry about is whether you want to get married or something and paying taxes. I think that’s better than accidentally shaving your eyebrow off because someone told you you had a unibrow in Spanish class.

On a lighter note, think of that pesty body part you’ve finally grown into. Mine is my nose. It was always so big. In seventh grade a kid told me it was too big for my face and I started crying. My mom told me it wasn’t true. But guess what? I look back on old photos, and it was too goddamn big for my face. Now it’s perfect! And has way more blackheads. But such is life.

Shout out to the past ten years for formulating all of us, you were brutal but necessary. Maybe none of us will tear our ACL, get hives from shaving our upper lip, or get tempura paint from art class on our new shoes in the next ten years, but I bet it will be just as messy and ugly. But in a good way, of course. We know more now. We know we’re gluten intolerant, allergic to strawberries, or dyslexic now; we know that we would maybe hate to live in Florida, or statistics is the bane of our existence, and we might always sleep late on the weekends even when we want to get shit done. I think it’s cool that we know ourselves more now. But things were cool when you didn’t know. Your old self is really funny and interesting (in a good way), no matter what you think, because she was trying. And you even have stuff in common, I bet. I still listen to Frank Ocean when I’m depressed just like I did in 2012, and I still eat pizza upside down like I did in 2005, and I can’t let go of my side part I got in 2011.

Here’s a photo of me liking coffee just to prove that I hate coffee now and ~people evolve within the confines of their projected personality~, also wearing neon orange lipstick to prove that we all make mistakes…

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Accidental Studying Abroad

It’s quite difficult to sum up one and a half years of my life into one post, one video, a playlist, or any form of media that I use to express myself. Half of me sees Burlington in a cold concrete, clear King-Krule’s-newest-album-blue way, in frigid temperatures and boring outfits and icicles hanging from every possible crevice, branch, and post. The other half remembers purple sunsets over multicolored mountains, thrift stores littered with drag, concerts every night, the cold-warm breeze on your face at the lake in late August. But what it really was is the mundane shit that I took for granted.

I really want a Sodexo bagel with strawberry cream cheese, or a chocolate croissant paired with Speeder and Earl’s hazelnut coffee, the corn tortillas from New World Tortilla, or the chicken and wild rice soup from the marketplace. I want to sit at my favorite study table overlooking the streams of students passing by merchants and club tables in the student center. I want to make myself a grilled cheese on Wednesday afternoons again, complete with the really fucking good local ingredients that we didn’t even have to pay for. I want to go to City Market and stare at the beauty products. I want to come home from work and talk to my roommate about everything that scares me. I want to ride the bus.

I am happy and sad that I didn’t know it was my last semester, or last week, even, at University of Vermont. Unlike studying abroad, I didn’t know when my time away would be up, which brings us to Amanda Thompson’s concept: accidental studying abroad. That’s what I did, I think. I mean, here I am going on and on about sunsets and dining hall food, it sounds like I went abroad for a few semesters or something and am being really overdramatic about it. I guess I didn’t really get a formal goodbye.

When I go back, it won’t even feel like my city anymore. No more walks to the bank, or ArtsRiot, or the waterfront. Walking into Monarch and the Milkweed or Outdoor Gear Exchange or the Lamp Shop will be what it is: just a visit. Not a part of my general routine. Not something I can shoot down the street to do on a Tuesday.

I guess I’ll find my Tuesday places here. Maybe it will be CVS. Maybe when it snows, the flakes will be so big and mesmerizing, and the sunset will be so purple that I can put on Sex Tourists by French Kicks and close my eyes and pretend I’m in Burlington. Maybe I can sit in the new museum, the one that I don’t know just yet, listening to Birds Don’t Sing by TV Girl and pretend that the edgy art students around me are just UVM students.

I wasn’t outdoorsy enough, I wasn’t weird enough, I wasn’t cool enough to fit in; all that stuff that rang through my mind constantly was bullshit. As much as I told myself all of that, it was still my city. I went to the farmer’s markets, whether it was with friends or by myself, and I went to the protests, and almost got a tattoo in the tattoo parlor, and I walked back from frat parties by myself at three AM, and hiked some mountains. I did the Burlington stuff. I did it all, and I didn’t even realize it.

I miss Waterman. I miss Lafayette. I miss Old Mill, especially the view of the lake from the fifth floor. I miss the ugly library, the gross Grundle, the gym that was way too far away from where I lived. I miss the one street that Champlain College had property on, it was just so beautiful. I miss slipping on ice going downhill and staining my jeans.

So yeah, I guess my thought now is “What was I thinking?”. But I know what I was thinking. I wasn’t thinking. I was feeling. I knew that I just needed to go. And it complicated stuff for sure, and I’m not even sure if I like UConn all that much yet. It isn’t UVM for sure, but I’m paying $30,000 less so that makes sense. I only have to do a little bit more of college here, and then it’s all over. And I can make it good.

If I was at UVM right now, I would be writing this alone eating mac and cheese. But I’m not alone right now and had a salad for lunch, so I guess that counts. Emotionally, I’m doing so much better here. I feel less depressed. Maybe a bit lonelier, but I think that will go away. Because I’m getting what I really wanted, which is a second chance at college.

Maybe a side effect of being me is always wanting to leave wherever I am. My mom says I just love to travel, but I just really like leaving. I didn’t cry leaving UVM. I really liked leaving, to be honest. I don’t know why, because now I look back and start crying. But in the end, leaving always brings some good into my life. It was like that with flying to D.C. for the first time. I want to feel like that more often.

Maybe I’ll never feel comfortable where I am, or secure in my friendships. Maybe that’s another side effect. I think I wouldn’t have figured it out if I hadn’t left.

Thank you to the city of Burlington and the institution of the University of Vermont for housing me for 1.5 years. I couldn’t have done it without my favorite political science professor, my shitty freshman year roommates, the girls I met in my public speaking class, the guys I liked for no reason because I was bored, my friends I semi-hated, or Brianna.

 

a (forced) love letter to being alone

I don’t want to write this but I have to. I hate being alone. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Unless it’s on my own terms, I don’t want it. Like, right now, I didn’t want to be alone so much that I walked to someone else’s dorm and sat in the study room with a random guy doing some sort of hard online homework just to write this.

I ate dinner alone today. I eat alone a lot. Eating alone makes me feel fat because doing stuff when no one else is around feels pointless. I don’t know why it does. I do some of my best thinking alone; in the shower, in the car on the way to the bank, in my journal, at night in my bed starting at the ceiling. It makes me feel like I’m shouting into the void and that’s a scary thought.

Why do I feel like I waste so much time when I’m alone? Unless I’m doing homework, I feel like doing stuff I like is a waste of time. Sometimes I feel like writing is a waste of time because I feel like I could never make something of this. It’s been so long since I’ve written fiction that I’ve actually shown someone. When I was alone when I was little I used to write and read and repeat. Reading about all my favorite subjects and all my favorite series made me so happy; ancient Egypt, the American revolution, Lemony Snicket, Harry Potter, insects, fashion. I wrote over ten books and over three hundred songs and hundreds of little snippets of ideas that never came to fruition.

I used to share my writing on a website. Only two people I actually know in person knows that I used to do that; my cousin and a girl who was a year younger than me at my high school. So many people read my books. I would finish one and people would comment asking for more. My books would trend on the home page of the website for weeks. I started posting poetry and songs and even journal entries for people to read. I don’t know what it was about my writing that people liked; I wish I knew because I would try to channel that in this blog. It felt so good to be recognized for something I absolutely loved doing. Every day as soon as I came home from middle school, I would write for hours and now I can’t even churn out one half-page of text a day.

When I was in eighth grade I became really depressed. I tried to kill myself. I always forget I did and then I say it in front of people and they’re shocked. And since then I’ve been on and off suicidal. In the past couple of years I’ve only gotten to that point twice, so I guess that’s pretty good. My interest in writing faded as my interest in the world did too. I stopped reading. All I would do was watch Youtube videos on fashion and how to recreate Australian accents. When I was diagnosed with depression in ninth grade, I started going to a hospitalization program for half of the day, five days a week.

Instead of going home immediately after a long day of school to my literary fans on the internet and my sticker-covered journal, I would get picked up in a white van at 12:45 p.m. every day from high school. It always smelled stale and gross and everyone in the program with me most likely does heroin or something and has children by now. I know at least one girl does because I saw her Facebook once; her baby is cute. They basically taught you how to deal with life and talked about the layers of depression that we’d experience. I think the staff liked me because they knew I actually cared about getting better. My parents tried everything, but made it worse; disconnecting me from social media, taking my phone away at night, and monitoring my texts and phone calls only heightened the fact that I felt so alone. Because of my isolation and probably the fact that I was really emo and scared of everyone, I had few friends. I had nothing to write about except my growing sense of loneliness and despair. I would sit in my bed and listen to Lana Del Rey and refuse to eat.

When I’m alone, I guess I just think of who I was when I spent so much time alone. But a lot of people, including myself, have told me that I am not the same person I was six years ago. I can’t believe it was six years ago, because it feels like yesterday and a century ago at the same time. I could sit here and write about how Perks and Nirvana and Teen Vogue changed my life as a teenager and made me feel less alone, but it feels like bullshit. I know it was just time that healed everything. I know that going back to the partial hospitalization program a second time was bullshit. I know that getting a therapist before college to talk about how scared I felt was bullshit. Literally, all I had to do was not be so dramatic about my feelings. I know being alone isn’t the root of my depression. It can’t be, because being alone is just. a. part. of. life. I wake up alone, I fall asleep alone, it’s just the way it works.

I could have saved myself from depression, I sometimes think, because all I could have done was got my ass out of bed and joined a club or sport or picked up a video game besides Minecraft and reteach myself how to HTML code or learn how to cook or something. But I’ve come to the conclusion that my teenage depression was a side effect of being alone. In middle school, people hung out more, and Instagram began to exist. Suddenly, I felt I had to being doing stuff. And me, who had never done stuff, was so confused.

And I love doing stuff. I really do. I think it’s just part of who I am. But I need to get back to the person who did nothing and learn from her. Because when I’m alone I’m creative and introspective and smart. Yeah, I might stare at the wall and listen to Frank Ocean and ponder the meaning of life, but that doesn’t mean I’m depressed. It means I just know what it’s like to hang out with yourself. And that’s okay.

So I guess this is the part where I call myself to action: No more being social! Stay home every night! Start playing video games and watching more movies and finish the entirety of The Office in four days! But honestly writing that makes me want to throw up everywhere! So here’s to trying to watch less Youtube videos about people with aesthetically pleasing lives and here’s to watching more Youtube videos about graphic design and ancient Egypt and making collages.

I always say I want to create more, to learn more, to grow more, and I think the part I’m missing is that people do that when they are alone.

How’s UConn?

The day after I started at UVM I instantly wrote a post about my snap judgements of it, so it wouldn’t be another fresh start if I didn’t sum up the next 2.5 years of my life into the four hours I’ve been awake today.

My roommate’s boyfriend has an XBox in our room. He doesn’t go to UConn or have a job; his sole purpose in life is to live in our room and hang out with his girlfriend. Who the fuck does that? I already have prejudices against dating in college and this just really reaffirms all of them. Aside from the normal roommate qualms, I’m living with an unemployed teenage boy who says “Goodnight” to me when I shut off the light, his fingers clicking away on his controller until God knows when. My favorite part is when they both walked into the room to move in at 10 PM and said “Oh my god I didn’t know I got another roommate!” when I had messaged her on two forms of social media over the last two weeks.

My suitemates have driven out a total of five people so far: the roommate in their room, and four people that have shared a wall and a bathroom with them in my room. I wonder why. Maybe it’s because they came into my room ten minutes after I introduced myself to them and enforced some “house rules.” Maybe it’s because one of them blasted Finesse by Cardi B and Bruno Mars in the shower at 6:48 AM the first day of classes and woke everyone up. Maybe because one of them spits in the shower and leaves it there. Maybe because they turn the TV on really loud when you’re trying to sleep and don’t turn it down when you bang on the wall. Maybe it’s because they lock your door every time they use the bathroom even though there’s stalls, and then when they forget to unlock it they maniacally laugh at you when you bang on the door trying to just brush your teeth. But I’m not sure; I could just be high maintenance!

So my hair looks terrible, I have bags under my eyes, and there’s no water fountain within any close proximity of my room, and I’m going to have to move for the fifth time. So that’s really cool! How am I at UConn? I feel like I’m visiting for the weekend and waking up at 6:25 AM for fun rather than necessity. I’m sitting in McMahon and see three people I know within a fifty-feet radius; one of them from elementary school, one from a leadership conference, and one from a party. I went to an Honors Microeconomics class this morning and didn’t have the heart to leave. I am enrolled in two classes. I am sweating. UConn vibes.

So here I am in purgatory waiting to move out. We’re going to make moves this whole week. Literally. But I go home in three days so that’s nice. I forgot conditioner and a sponge. I just hope that I am not punished any further and my future roommates are a fraction of decent.

Also, if anyone can tell me how to mucus-cough repeatedly in class and not have everyone stare at you or the professor ask if you need to step out that would be much appreciated.

Eat more Annie’s mac and cheese, people

I had a very typical New Year’s Day: I woke up crying because I was insanely depressed, all I wanted was a bagel but my dad wouldn’t let me leave the house, so I grudgingly ate a hot dog instead and slept for the entire day.

Since my day was completely shit for the first few hours, I decided to just say fuck it and text all my friends from school that I was transferring to UConn because why not make everything worse? Then I changed my school on my Facebook about page to UConn. Then I listened to Lana Del Rey and cried more and fell asleep for the entire afternoon.

I woke up to a lot of well wishes and a lot of people that were sad that I was leaving. I seriously thought no one would care. Even the girl I was supposed to room with this year that completely avoided me the whole summer because she was transferring and didn’t bother to tell me liked my post. It’s kind of nice. I feel like I’m actually leaving something behind that is worth missing.

The senior in my Spanish class first semester freshman year even texted me. As soon as I saw her name pop up onto my phone I was so excited. She had transferred to UVM from University of Maryland for her sophomore year because as much as she didn’t mind Maryland and made a few friends, she didn’t feel herself there. She’s graduated now and lives her best life hopping from European country to European country and wearing cool scarves. It gives me hope.

I have no idea where my life is going to take me. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable or happy or consistent, but I really hope I do. I hope I ride more planes and eat more boxes of mac and cheese and smile at strangers walking down the street. I hope I walk into Walgreens and have conversations with the employees about their days because they actually do care about stuff like that. I hope that three years from now I’d have gone on a life changing trip to somewhere I’d love to live one day. I hope I show up to my five year high school reunion really overdressed and get drunk off of half a glass of wine.

Maybe it’s my fault, but everything in my life feels really unstable right now. All of my relationships with people seem really hopeless and I know that it’s just my negative, small thinking but someday soon I’ll get the bigger picture. I don’t know what to expect from anyone or anything. Absence of expectations scares the shit out of me because I always have expectations. I had expectations for New Years Eve that fell short. I ended up looking weird not wearing a bra with my dress, my makeup looked terrible because my cheeks were flushed, and I cried more often than I intended to.

A lot of times I say things that I know are overly dramatic or send texts knowing people won’t respond or care. I don’t know why. I don’t know why I over complicate my life. I don’t know why I constantly cry over dumb things like not being able to get a Cohen’s bagel. I don’t know why I can’t just reassure myself that everything will be okay. That not everyone loves me. That sometimes I’m just too much for people. And it’s fine.

I hope in 2018 I can stop living in my head. It seems like I don’t because I’m social and always wanting to be doing something, but so much goes on inside my head that I don’t ever talk about. Mostly because it’s hard to talk about this stuff, because a lot of people I know wouldn’t get it. But I do know people that would get it. I hope I feel endlessly inspired regardless of how uninspiring I think the world is.

I knew 2017 would be hard and it was and now it’s over. I can’t put a word to how 2018 is going to be but it is going to be just that. A lot of warmth. A lot of becoming an adult. A lot of doing what I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

And I’m also going to pretend that January 1st doesn’t count. If today is any indication as to what 2018 will be like, it will just be filled with chocolate and sleeping in the middle of the day and eating pasta. Well maybe that isn’t so bad.

2018 Resolutions

  1. Maina, you have a 0.0 GPA right now. Please do not screw that up. Get over a 3.0 please.
  2. Spend money on your passions. Buy more paint, buy more used books, buy more pens when you run out of the ones you use for your journal. Buy more film cameras.
  3. You are already aware that you are special and beautiful and amazing, so stop trying to prove it to everyone else because they should already know.
  4. Make more mixtapes for your friends, and let them know you’re thinking of them often.
  5. Finally find some peace with your body. Go to the gym with Riley. At first you’re going to look dumb and fat but eventually you won’t.
  6. Improve the blog. Buy a domain name. Post bi-weekly. Whenever you’re thinking about boys or watching pointless youtube videos stop doing that and write a post.
  7. Make friends. Go up to random people and say hello. Pretend UConn is your senior year of high school. You run the place. Give people gum and compliment their shoes.

An Argument: Let Time Dictate Your Life

Being snowed in alone is the ripest kind of bittersweet. I really hate being alone sometimes but ultimately it really reconnects me with how I’m feeling and who I am at this certain point in time. And, since I don’t really know what to make of life recently, today was very much needed.

I mostly sat with a bath bomb tucked underwater while reading a book I’ve had listed on Goodreads for 10 months, listening to Old Money by Lana Del Rey and staring at the snow falling outside from the big window in my room. All I’ve eaten is seven Dove chocolates. I haven’t brushed my teeth.

I’ve been meaning to make a big post about a big decision I’ve finally made, but it doesn’t feel that monumental. I thought about it yesterday, and everything I would miss, the snow, the solitude, the familiarity, but that’s the closest I’ve gotten to realizing the weight of what I’ve actually done. And if you know me, everything is a big deal. Which is why I’m confused.

I guess the closest I’ve gotten to making a big revelation was when I was emptying the bath and I made a post on Instagram of a few photos I’ve taken during great moments of 2017. A panoramic view of York Beach in Maine, Sylvan Esso during my favorite song of theirs in Brooklyn, walking down the street in Georgetown. And I started to think about how everyone will collectively agree that 2017 sucked. And it really did! In many ways. 2016 for me was arguably so much worse emotionally, but in 2017 I felt nothing. This year was a flatline, with summer slightly elevated through all of my travels and my one period of emotional stimulation.

In the back of my head when I catalog time, I always hear my friend Emily saying “Time is fake as shit.” As much as that is true, and empowering in a lot of senses, time still dictates much of our lives. I’m still in school. Semesters and due dates circulate around me for nine months out of the year. Breaks have beginnings and endings. My work shifts are in thirty minute or hour intervals. Birthdays only last twenty-four hours, and then what are you supposed to feel.

Time is fake as shit but it’s here and we have to make something of it within the confines that society created. For me, I know 2018 will be very different from 2017. With a whole new set of people, thousands of people, in a new place that I’ve always known existed and have been before. Familiar but unfamiliar. New routines, new walking routes, new starts and endings. Who knows where I will be working in the summer? Who I’ll meet in my economics class? Where I’ll live, where I’ll travel to? I’ll have a good idea of where (probably Shoprite, probably someone from a town thirty minutes away from me who knows my cousin, on campus, and somewhere within driving distance) but within those confines, there are still options.

So if time ever gets you down like it has to me, just remember there are options. Maybe your 2018 will look just about the same as 2017. Maybe you just realized your entire life is a flatline. Maybe you realized that you need a flatline year. Whatever it is, make a new year’s resolution, because they matter. And if you don’t stick to it, doing it for however long you did is still a change. Predictions can be accurate but not precise (tbt to high school science class).

Here is my callout post: Make a change. Make a big deal about that change. Put glitter on your face on December 31st. Wipe it clean on January 1st when you get out of bed, and feel like a different person, because it’s 2018 and you are allowed to.